A life of colour

For Mearns artist, Jacky Niven, there is literally never a grey day.

Due to a brain condition known as synaesthesia, which mingles her senses, every word for Jacky has a colour, so Tuesday is shiny chocolate brown, Wednesday yellow and Sunday candy striped!

Triangles are yellow too and that is the title of her first solo exhibition of abstract paintings which is running this month in the Aberdeen Arts Centre, inviting viewers into the explosion of vibrant hues that make up her world.

Though she has always had the condition, it was only two years ago when she founded the group of artists South Aberdeenshire Abstracts, that Jacky, who lives in Gourdon, found herself allowing it to influence her work.

Originally from Manchester, she first enjoyed success as a commercial illustrator and portrait painter. Since coming to Scotland in 1992, she has become known for producing works reflecting local farming and wildlife, aiming to capture the ever changing humour of the climate and her surroundings. Her love of puffins in particular made her expert at reproducing these colourful birds on canvas, and her works have sold throughout the UK and overseas.

A change in mood in 2009 saw her produce bolder, abstract pieces for an acclaimed collection New Moods New Directions, then last year began her voyage of discovery as she began to allow her synaesthesia to take control.

She said, “It’s been like this forever. It is really hard to explain, but every sound, every experience, has a colour for me. It has always been there hanging at the back of my head.

“But working with the abstract art group really gave me the confidence to throw off the shackles of playing safe and just let the synaesthesia come naturally into my work. The more my work progressed, the more yellow triangles became a recurring theme.”

She began setting about her canvases quite feverishly and rates the results the most honest work she has created to date.

The exhibition runs until June 29.